The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for answers at the moment. Any answer. Or possible answer. Because they have a lot of questions and and no solution in sight. At least not a solution that General Manager Neil Huntington is willing to use.
Top Player For April – Andrew McCutchen. Not even close, and that is the unfortunate part. Because Starling Marte, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker have been non-existent in April 2014. Gregory Polanco has also been non-existent. That is because the is still playing AAA baseball in Indianapolis. The right fielder is dominating minor league pitching but General Manager Neil Huntington will not bring him up until June when the Pirates gain another season of salary control. Polanco, one of the best all around prospects in baseball would seem to be worth a try but Huntington will not allow it for the moment. That means McCutchen carries the burden to keep this team afloat until his teammates or future teammates begin to hit the ball. Despite the complete lack of punch from the rest of the Pittsburgh roster, McCutchen is still hitting .295 with four home runs and 14 RBI.
Top Pitcher For April – Compounding the Pirates hitting woes is pitching staff that has not been good enough either. They do not have one starter with an ERA under 3.18 and their ace, Francisco Liriano has been average at best to start the season. That is typical of Liriano and how he starts any season but if the Pirates ever needed him to buck that trend it was April of 2014. He has compiled just 34 innings in six games started, has zero wins on the season and his ERA sits at 3.97. That will change, Liriano will come around but in the interim Gerrit Cole has been the Pirates best pitcher and will eventually be their No. 1 starter. He currently stands at 2-2 with a WHIP of 0.97 and is averaging nearly seven innings per start. If the Pirates are going to make a run at the playoffs they obviously need their offense to get going but they are also going to need Cole to continue what he is doing.
A lot has been made lately about Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle standing by his team and counting on his leaders. Fair enough, but that is about all he can do at the moment. His team is not hitting, Liriano has not showed up yet and the second best hitter in the organization is sitting in AAA. If the Pirates are going to resurrect their season it will have to be ignited from a front office that is apparently willing to wait for something good to happen or from a group of players that currently show little life with a bat in their hands.
So while the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to look for answers and wait for a roster to turn it around, the person most capable of helping the Pirates is still playing minor league baseball. Gregory Polanco is Pittsburgh’s solution but the Pirates may be out of playoff contention before he gets a chance to help.
Commentary by Mick Varner
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Pittsburgh Pirates